Twente tackles textile waste

We can solve the problem in five years. 

 

Thanks to the 'Twente Green Technological Top Cluster' Regional Deal, Twente can take major steps towards a solution for the textile waste problem. The regional deal is a government subsidy of thirty million euros that Twente Board, the province of Overijssel the Twente Region and other regional parties have received. It is intended for, among other things, the transition to a circular economy. The TexPlus foundation, aimed at ensuring discarded textile is recycled, was established last year. Twente Milieu, recycling companies De Beurs and Het Goed, Alcon Advies, Saxcell / Saxion and Enschede Textielstad are participating in the foundation.

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In short

  • Textile waste is the second largest problem, aside from plastic waste. It is a major societal challenge.
  • At Frankenhuis, huge bales with textile are recycled every year.

Tich Vanduren, CEO of textile recycling company Frankenhuis B.V. in Haaksbergen, is grateful and excited with the opportunity to make substantial progress in the coming years. “Textile waste is, after plastic waste, the biggest problem. The textile industry is very polluting. Producing textile costs huge amounts of water, paint and other raw materials. Recent research has shown that every Dutch person discards around 40 items of clothing a year. Nine of those items are reused (worn by someone else), seven are recycled, and the others end up in the mountain of waste and are incinerated. Do realise that these numbers are about clothing, not curtains and upholstery fabrics, for example. Of such fabrics, almost nothing is recycled.”

 

At Frankenhuis, huge bales of textile are recycled every year. “We only use one method,” explains Vanduren. “The mechanical method, meaning that we process used clothing into fibres that can be used in non-woven materials such as insulation and the inside of car roofs. What happens is ‘down cycling’. The great thing is that with TexPlus we will develop new ways to transform used textiles into high-quality materials. Soon, a new water bottle can be made from your old fleece. At that point, we truly have a circular economy.”

Bundle knowledge

To develop such methods, Vanduren believes it is vital that all mentioned partners will work closely together. “This process can only start if all partners in the chain are properly aligned. I am convinced that we will succeed. Not in decades, but already between 2020 and 2025.” Her conviction stems from the fact that the foundation has been set up. Also, the development of new technologies in the region (among others by Saxion) making it possible to use other processing techniques. All parties in the chain are important. Sorters, researchers and processors. TexPlus is a fantastic way for bundling all those partners and the research.”

 

Twente has a long and rich textile history and is now putting the dot on the horizon for a future with circular textiles. “Our region is nationally recognised as an important hub in the development of recycled and circular textiles,” says Aleid Diepeveen, program leader of Agenda for Twente. “The project is ready to be included in the Agenda for Twente and is part of the Regional Deal. The Agenda and the Regional Deal reinforce each other. Textile recycling is an important societal challenge to which this region can contribute significantly. It is also an economic opportunity for innovation and employment.”

Date: 2 July 2019
Source of tekst: INN'twente
Author: Maaike Thüss
Audio / video: Frankenhuis / Lars Smook